To Make Life a Luscious Work of Art


It is after midnight and I just finished scrubbing my kitchen sinks.

I'm not sure what compelled me, but as I layered the dishes into the washer before bed I suddenly wanted to grab the cleaning scrubby powder that has sat unopened for months and dust it over everything. So I did. I loaded a fresh sponge to my dishwand, sprinkled my favorite Mrs. Meyer's everywhere and watched the grunge become shine beneath my hands.

My hands. My hands, co-creating resplendence.

It will feel so good in the morning, walking into my kitchen to pour my first cup of coffee and seeing that smooth stainless steel. It feels nourishing. It has been so long. 

As the year dawns new and the moon goes dark, I'm finding within simple, household rituals a startling sense of power. I get to do these mundane, everyday things. I get to touch my home, the space that shelters me from the chaos of the city. My touch has life in it. Transcendent electricity. How is it that I get to co-create beauty by simply slowing down & opening my eyes? I get to bring my presence to the coffee stains on my kitchen counters and notice the dust along the thin upper lip of my baseboards. Through attention, energy and touch I create transformation. How many times—thousands of times—have I dragged my have-tos & shoulds to my spray bottles & mops? And yet right here, hidden inside the complete ordinariness of daily tasks is a secret, holy corridor. It is humble & modest, and curves behind the veils of everyday. And it only becomes visible after Yes, which leads to the most dazzling invitation of presence. 

This is my year of presence. Of sacred space. Of dwelling-in and embodying my life as a luscious work of art. I've laid far too many years on the altars of disenchantment & overwhelm, and all I have in return are grayer hairs and deeper hunger. For eight years I've gambled my energy upon the idea that this apartment and this city I've ached to leave are just temporary. I've only just gathered the willingness to admit that I, I'm the one who has not allowed my buoyant spirit to thrive here. I've held this home at arm's length, never really accepting, never really making this my home. Instead, I've stuffed her wall to wall until she groans beneath the weight. I've grown tired. I've forgotten why it's important to show tenderness to the corners I dwell in. I've withheld my love because this home, she's not the one I want; she is not healthy for us. She is not life-giving because I've not given her life. I've spent all my energy yearning to leave. Who wants to be nearing their fourth decade, living in apartment limbo? Who wants a community trash center as their bedroom-window view? I haven't wanted it. I still don't. 

The other day I wrote, “I bless the pans falling out of the cabinet whenever I open the door—a cry for attention like the howl in my heart, the hunger in my belly, the fire in my eyes. I bless all of you. I will listen. I will kneel and attend to you.” 

I will kneel and attend to you.

So much...so much needs attending. 

It's time for me to pull close. To make my life a luscious work of art. To embrace. To shift the way I see. I am not in limbo here; I am liminal, and simply being awake to this will nourish me as I quietly get to work. It is the kind of work that only begins in the dark: the labor which brings forth life.

So now I will mix a few drops of bergamot, lavender, palo santo & clary sage. With a soft cloth, I will gently rub loose any stagnant traces of neglect. I will clear my countertops and whisper prayers with tenderness. I will wrap my arms around my home and look for ways to heal her. I will begin my slow ascent.